BOSTON, MA (November 12, 2020) –
Jumpstart for Young Children (Jumpstart) extends a congratulations to the next administration, President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. We celebrate the historic nature of Kamala Harris’s appointment as the country’s first woman, Black person, and person of South Asian descent. As a national early education organization working toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed, Jumpstart is committed to our continued fight for equitable education opportunities for young children. These efforts are more critical now than ever.
“We must redouble our efforts to champion the communities who have been disproportionately impacted by the current pandemic, economic downturn, and racial injustice,” said Jumpstart CEO Naila Bolus.
As the next administration begins to take shape, the first priority must include passing critical funding for child care relief immediately. In child care centers across the country, the pandemic has caused widespread layoffs and closures as a result of drastic drops in enrollment. The providers that have survived are now facing increased operating costs to meet necessary health and safety standards. At the same time, the American economy is relying on the sector to open fully to educate and care for children as parents return to work, even as programs operate at losses due to new social distancing requirements and continued low enrollment. A national response is required to address the child care crisis.
In addition to immediate COVID-19 relief for families and child care providers, additional policy priorities to create an equitable learning agenda for all children should include:
- Strengthening the early childhood education workforce by increasing compensation, enhancing professional development, and removing barriers to degree and credential attainment, such as by offering loan assistance for early educators.
- Expanding access to high-quality early education so that all children—especially children of color in underserved communities—can have a fair shot at success in school and life. According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, only 15% of Black children are enrolled in high-quality early education programs, as opposed to 24% of White children. This systemic inequality has to end.
- Making higher education more affordable and accessible by reducing costs and enhancing programs like Federal Work-Study.
- Investing in national and community service through AmeriCorps to tackle the problems faced by local communities and maintain the requirement that colleges devote at least 7% of their Federal Work-Study allotment for students to gain employment experience in non-profit, community-based organizations.
Jumpstart has been encouraged by the growing awareness by elected officials of the crucial importance of early education and care. Momentum has continued to build throughout 2020, as the pandemic has made crystal clear the critical role the sector plays in supporting the economy and educating and caring for our children.
Jumpstart looks forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure that every child enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.
ABOUT JUMPSTART FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
Jumpstart is a national early education organization working toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. Jumpstart delivers a research-based and cost-effective program by training college students and community volunteers to serve preschool-age children in low-income neighborhoods. Through a proven curriculum, these children develop the language and literacy skills they need to be ready for kindergarten, setting them on a path for lifelong success. Jumpstart is also a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. Learn more at jstart.org and follow us on Twitter at @Jumpstartkids.